Elvin Bishop, John Mayall, Eddy Clearwater Among Inductees Into the Blues Hall of Fame

The Blues Hall of Fame have announced their 2016 inductees in its Performers, Non-Performers, Literature and Recording categories.

The Performers honorees were selected by a group of blues scholars and industry veterans as the Best in the Blues. "Each of these musicians has carved his place in blues history."
  • Elvin Bishop - Starting with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the mid-60's, Bishop struck out as a solo performer in 1968 hitting a peak in 1976 with the single Fooled Around and Fell in Love. He returned to his roots in the blues in 1988, recording a series of acclaimed albums including the 2015 Blues Album and Song of the Year (I Can't Even Do Wrong Right). 
  • Eddy Clearwater - The singers started as a rock act in the 50's and added country and R&B to appeal to a wide range of audiences but returned to his blues roots in the later part of the decade. He has been a mainstay of Chicago blues recording for Rooster Blues, Blind Pig, Bullseye Blues and his own Cleartone Records. 
  • Jimmy Johnson - Johnson played R&B throughout the 60's but returned to his blues roots in Chicago when he joined the Jimmy Dawkins band in 1974. He eventually went solo and had a number of successful albums on Alligator and Delmark, winning multiple W.C. Handy Blues Awards. His career hit a setback after a 1988 auto accident but he has reemerged since with a number of albums including one with his brother, Syl Johnson.
  • John Mayall - The "Godfather of British Blues" formed his band, the Bluesbrakers, in 1963 London and gave career boosts to such greats as Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. He eventually relocated to the U.S. and has been a near constant presence in the music world throughout his career.
  • Memphis Jug Band - One of the most popular and prolific groups of the 20's and 30's, the Memphis Jug Band played everything from blues to minstrel songs to pop. They made the first phonograph record in the area covered by Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and Kentucky and, in one form or another, continued recording well into the 60's. 
In the area of non-performers, Tommy Couch and Wolf Stephenson will be inducted. The pair are the founders of Malaco Records, one of the great labels for southern soul, soul-blues and gospel music. While they had a hit in 1976 with Dorothy Moore's Misty Blue, the label really took off in the early-80's with the ZZ Hill album Down Home. Those that recorded for Malaco included Bobby Bland, Little Milton, Denise LaSalle, Latimore, Johnnie Taylor and Tyrone Davis. They were also a major force in the field of gospel.

In the Classics of Literature, the committee has selected Jeff Todd Titon's Early Downhome Blues: A Musical and Cultural Analysis while the album Blues in the Mississippi Night, compiled by Alan Lomax with Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim and Sonny Boy Williams, is being inducted as a Classic of Blues Recording.

Five singles have also been named Classics of Blues Recording:
  • Crazy Blues - Mamie Smith (1920)
  • Blues Before Sunrise - Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell (1934)
  • Merry Christmas Baby - Johnny Moore's Three Blazers (1947)
  • That's All Right - Jimmy Rogers (1950)
  • I Wish You Would - Big Boy Arnold (1955)
The honorees will be inducted on Wednesday, May 4 during the 37th Blues Music Awards at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown in Memphis, TN. The Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony will coincide with the one year anniversary of the opening of the Blues Hall of Fame Museum, also located in Memphis, TN at the home of the Blues Foundation.

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